Thursday, July 28, 2005

Leaving another home

You’d think it’d get easier. In the last four and a half years, I’ve left my one and only homeland of Australia, I’ve left my beloved Japan with all its intricacies and smiles, I’ve left the fascination of Slovakia and some of the best friends I know, and now it’s time to leave Heilbronn, Germany. Although I’m better prepared, it’s still always traumatic. Coming back to visit will never be the same as having a refrigerator and a bed and an internet connection here, as keeping up-to-date with the lives of my students in our lessons every week, as knowing which bus goes where (though rarely when), or as complaining about the weather as someone who won’t be escaping it soon.

As with every new home I’ve had, I’ve learnt a lot and seen a lot which isn’t written down in any guidebook. Most visitors to Germany, for example, don’t learn as much about pistons and engine blocks as I did in the countless lessons I taught at Kolbenschmidt (I always found that Nicole – a woman, notably – gave me the best explanations on how this stuff worked). Without Thorsten, I might never have found the most accurate weather site for Heilbronn, giving me the ammunition I needed to begin every lesson with a weather whinge. And Armin saved my eyes by recommending amazing new contact lenses that don’t dry out by my evening class. My fun Fiat Bank group quickly taught me the German word for the student who tries too hard in class – Streber – while Andrea and Jürgen entertained me constantly by telling embarrassing stories about each other. And when it comes to students who taught me more than I taught them, the motivation and drive of small-business-owner Ralf and more than anything, the positive-thinking of Rainer at Bosch, are lessons which will definitely last beyond the airport.

Of course – I tell myself a hundred times over in weeks like these – it’s better to have experienced a new place and to be sad to leave it, than never to have been there at all. I just wish both my brain and my heart could stop being so damn sentimental about it all. If you're one of my dear German students stopping by to read this, leave me a comment to cheer me up.

1 comment:

  1. Ich habe seit langem kein Deutsch von Dir gelernt und war damals auch kein Student von Dir, aber immerhin, freue ich mich riesig dass ihr jetzt nach Hause fahr.

    Endlich habe ich Dein Blog gelesen und (wie immer) mich gefreut dass Du mehr und besser schreibst als ich.

    Carsten, ein Freund von mir aus München fährt gerade durch Namib - anscheinend wartet noch das beste Teil auf Euch.



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